Credit Cards: The New Sweatpants With Elastic Bottoms

By Ron Shevlin

I have six pairs of sweatpants in my closet. Five of them have elastic at the bottom of the legs. I’m not allowed to wear any of those five pairs.

My daughters — the fashionistas — have informed me that sweatpants with elastic at the bottom of the legs are VERY uncool. So uncool, that not only would they not be caught dead wearing them, I’m not allowed to wear them, either. And not just out in public, but around the house, as well.

I can’t help but wonder if credit cards have become the new sweatpants with elastic bottoms. That is, something so uncool, the younger generation wants nothing to do with it.

For the past few years, I chalked up the low usage of credit cards among Gen Yers to the combination of a weak economy and where Gen Yers’ less-than-stellar credit scores.

But now I’m not so sure. Just as Gen Yers are the first generation to not automatically use a checking account as their primary financial account, getting a credit card might not be an automatic rite of passage for them, either.

It’s not enough for card issuers to find Gen Y prospects who are good candidates for a credit card. Card marketers have to make it cool to own one.

This might be one reason why Amex is doing what it’s doing with Twitter. I mean, c’mon, how much purchase volume could it really be driving with its Twitter promotion? But as a mechanism for improving the image of the brand (and credit cards, in general), well, that’s another story. (Thx @seansposito)

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